Performers: Marie-Claire Cottin (soprano), Hélène de Luze (mezzo-soprano), Pierre Bonniffet (tenor), Charles Whitfield (baritone), Jacques Feuillie (bass), Geneviève Krier-France (mezzo-soprano), Blanche Marteline (soprano), Gabriel Colomiès (tenor), Corentin Pavie (baritone)
Playing time: 130'
Recording date: 1976; re-released: 1995
This is Le Jeune's most famous work -- a cycle of chansons on texts of Antoine de Baïf (with two framing madrigals on tests of Philippe Desportes), making intricate use of the musique mesurée à l'antique rhythmic style. This style was advocated by Baïf and largely developed by Le Jeune; it provides a rhythmically intricate alternative to the typical homophonic declamation of the era. The cycle may not have originally conceived as such; at any rate, it is organized by mode.
Frequently, different formal sections of the songs are set for different numbers of parts; these indications are given parenthetically above. Item #7 is originally by Clément Janequin in four parts; the 5th part is added by Le Jeune. The text of the first stanza is anonymous; the second stanza is by Guillaume Salluste Du Bartas and is set entirely by Le Jeune. Item #12 is also by Janequin with a part added by Le Jeune, followed by an extra stanzas.
The present recording is a classic (Grand Prix du Disque 1976); the vocal style is heavy on vibrato & using modern pronunciation, and so largely at odds with current practice. Although it is a little hard on the modern ear, the commitment is evident.
The liner notes are dense and extremely informative. As much as anything, Feuillie implores other musicians to take up Le Jeune's music for its inherent value.
Another recording devoted to Le Jeune by the present ensemble:
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To FAQ CD index page.Todd M. McComb